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Warriors’ balanced effort ignites 28-point triumph

TOSSING IN TWO MORE — North Union post player Kody Irmiter (33) tosses in a jumper over West Bend-Mallard’s Abner Zaugg (45) during Top of Iowa Conference basketball action Monday night in Armstrong. North Union’s Bryce Beschorner (22) and Drew Henderson (13), along with West Bend-Mallard’s Landon Montag (5), Mitch Stevens (10) and Jaxon Zaugg (41) watch the action. (Photo courtesy of Kim Meyer/Bancroft Register and Swea City Herald-Press)

ARMSTRONG — With North Union senior point guard Kyan Jones sitting in street clothes on the bench with an ankle injury, Dan Fothergill and his Warrior teammates picked up the passing slack on Monday night.

Fothergill distributed a game-best seven assists, Grady Madden doled out four more, while Aiden Lofstrom and Kody Irmiter proved a lethal 1-2 interior presence to power North Union to a season-opening 68-40 basketball win over the West Bend-Mallard Wolverines in Armstrong.

Irmiter finished with a double-double performance of 16 points and a game-best 10 rebounds, while Lofstrom tallied a team-leading 18 points to complement nine boards.

Fothergill generated a game-high seven steals to go with 10 points, while Madden and Preston Guerdet each supplied nine points in the team-oriented rout.

“We’re a team of balance,” said North Union head coach Alex Fisher. “Our guys share the ball so well that we could have a different leading scorer nearly every night we step onto the court.

“If we continue to play unselfish basketball like tonight, we’ll have a great season.”

Ball-hawking defense by Fothergill, Madden and Preston — followed by heads-up precision passing — triggered the Warriors’ incredible 25-3 lead after only one 8-minute quarter in the books.

Fothergill’s midcourt theft-turned-layup served as the catalyst behind North Union’s opening 10-0 surge.

Guerdet and Madden then executed a perfect two-player game as Guerdet pocketed the frontcourt steal, flipped the basketball ahead to Madden, who found Guerdet for the weak-side breakaway lay-in.

Fothergill drove the lane and spotted Guerdet for a 3-pointer before Guerdet cashed in another steal for two more. Fothergill then tipped a backcourt pass to Lofstrom for the fastbreak layup to cap an 11-1 lead.

Klayton Jones hit a cutter for the Wolverines to interrupt the Warriors’ run temporarily before Madden sparked a 14-0 surge to close out the opening quarter.

Madden banked home a reverse layup off a drive before Lofstrom cashed in another Fothergill pass for a layup. Madden knocked down a corner trifecta before Irmiter cleaned the offensive boards for a putback.

Fothergill’s skip pass to Lofstrom created a three-point opportunity for the 6-foot-3 forward, who cashed it in by sinking the ensuing add-1 free throw. Lofstrom hit another leaner in the low post to close out a 25-3 lead.

Jaxon Zaugg erupted for 12 of the Wolverines’ 16 second-quarter points to eventually whittle the Warriors’ lead to 36-19 by intermission.

“We had a little letdown during the second quarter, but then got back after it defensively in the third to build a 54-26 lead,” said Fisher.

Fothergill and Co. forced seven third-quarter turnovers by the Wolverines as Irmiter and Lofstrom combined for 10 of the Warriors’ 18 points in the frame.

Jaxon Zaugg topped the Wolverines with a game-best 19 points to go with a team-high nine rebounds, while Landon Montag delivered 10 points, eight boards and three steals.

North Union (1-0) plays host to North Iowa at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

WB     3 16  7 14–40

NU   25 11 18 14–68

NORTH UNION (68)

Irmiter 8-13 0-0 16, Lofstrom 7-10 4-5 18, Madden 4-9 0-0 9, Fothergill 5-10 0-0 10, Guerdet 4-10 0-0 9, Henderson 1-3 0-0 3, Beschorner 0-3 0-0 0, Khael Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Walders 1-1 0-0 3, Bruhn 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-61 4-5 68.

WBM (40)

Nielsen 0-4 0-0 0, Montag 4-13 0-0 10, Stevens 1-2 0-0 2, Jones 1-5 0-0 2, J. Zaugg 7-19 2-4 19, Schmidt 0-2 0-0 0, A. Zaugg 2-3 0-0 4, C. Fehr 0-0 1-2 1, Yoch 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 16-51 3-6 40.

3-pointers: North Union 4-20 (Madden, Guerdet, Henderson and Walders 1 each); West Bend-Mallard 5-10 (J. Zaugg 3, Montag 2). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: North Union 34 (Irmiter 10, Lofstrom 9); WBM 25 (J. Zaugg 9, Montag 8). Assists: North Union 16 (Fothergill 7, Madden 4); WBM 4. Steals: North Union 14 (Fothergill 7, Guerdet 3); WBM 6 (Montag 3).

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